Penn Hills athletes compete at state indoor track championships

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Wednesday, March 4, 2020 | 12:01 AM


Heading into the Pennsylvania Track and Field Coaches Association state indoor championship, Lee Zelkowitz was hopeful for strong performances from the handful of Penn Hills athletes who qualified.

However, it wasn’t their day.

Sophomore Miniya Pinnix was the Indians’ top finisher as she finished 11th in the 800-meter run in 2 minutes, 8.83 seconds at the meet March 1 at Penn State.

Pinnix finished just behind Radnor’s Lucy Henkel (2:18.04).

A week earlier, Pinnix finished second at the Tri-State Track Coaches Association indoor championships at Edinboro with a time of 2:18.21 just behind South Fayette’s Emma Fleck (2:18.03).

Last season, Pinnix finished 10th at the state indoor championship (2:17.64).

“It’s hard to put your thumb on it. It kind of just happens. It’s a tough environment. Nobody ran terrible, but it wasn’t what they were expecting. I rather it happen during the indoor season than the outdoor season,” Zelkowitz said.

“This is a true state final because you don’t have classes here and people who aren’t part of the PIAA are able to participate in the meet. It’s a really competitive meet and it’s tough.”

Senior Kemi Balogun finished 17th in the triple jump with a mark of 35 feet, 6.25 inches. Balogun only made one legal jump as her second jump didn’t count.

At the Tri-State meet this year, Balogun finished second in the triple jump with a mark of 36-1, which was behind Obama Academy’s Leslie Manson (36-8.5).

“I think she’s going to be better in the outdoor since her approach is going to get more and more consistent,” Zelkowitz said.

“She will be able to get on the runway every day in the outdoor. In the indoor you don’t have the advantage of doing that. You’re working on your steps, but you’re working on a different surface.”

The girls’ 1,600-meter relay team of senior Amanda McCann, senior Eliza Brennan, junior Faith Crawford and Pinnix finished 18th with a time of 4:08 at the state meet.

The relay team finished second in 4:08.89 at the Tri-State meet.

Sophomore Angelo Allen finished in 19th in the shot put with a mark of 48-6 at the PTFCA indoor championship.

Allen was fifth (50-2) at the Tri-State meet but had a higher mark of 51-9.75 earlier this indoor season to qualify for the state meet.

Senior Kiera Ward stumbled out of the blocks in the 60-meter hurdles and wasn’t able to recover as she finished 18th in 9.48.

A week earlier, Ward ran her personal best and finished second in 9.30, which was behind Villa Maria Academy’s Grace Parker (9.27).

Heading into the state meet, Balogun (triple jump) and Allen (shot put) were seeded second and 17th in their respective events. Pinnix (800) and the girls 1,600-meter relay team were seeded 12th and 17th, respectively. Ward was seeded 14th in the 60 hurdles

“They ran OK, but it didn’t seem like anyone met the expectations that were going to be. It was a good experience for them to get up there to run in a championship meet,” Zelkowitz said.

“We’re looking forward to the outdoor season. I think we had a really positive indoor season that’s going to help us for the outdoor. I think everyone is going to shine.”

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